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Thoughts on “Dracula” by Bram Stoker (Audiobook)

I listened to Dracula by Bram Stoker on audio for Allie’s October readalong. If you don’t know anything at all about Dracula, go read it for yourself! I don’t want to ruin it for you. If you’ve read it, or if you know the story’s outline, you can read further without fear of spoilers.

About the Book:

Dracula Readalong BadgeWritten in 1897 by Irish author Bram Stoker, Dracula tells the story of the infamous Count Dracula of Transylvania and his nefarious nocturnal activities. Though not the first vampire novel ever written, it is one of the best known. It follows the Count’s movements and actions through the letters and journals of a small band of people who both believe in and desire to eliminate him.

My Thoughts:

Until I met Dracula, I thought I hated all scary, creepy, and otherwise Halloween-appropriate novels. Turns out that’s not the case at all. On the contrary, Dracula delighted me and left me trying to find times to listen to just a bit more. Apparently I’m not opposed to classic horror at all!

I think what I liked best about Dracula was its format. It’s epistolary, made up entirely of letters and journal entries. I know many other novels have used this approach with varying success, but in Dracula, it was perfect. The start of the novel explains that because what follows are the immediate impressions of those involved, no one can claim memories became less accurate with time or accounts may have been heavily edited before being written. At the same time, of course, it is difficult to know how accurate these first-person eyewitness accounts really are. The story contains an explanation as to how the pieces of the novel came to be organized chronologically into a single volume, which I appreciated.

As a newcomer to the vampire genre, I appreciated how Dracula laid out some of the ground rules of vampires. I don’t know how universal the lore presented in Stoker’s classic is, but several pieces were familiar, at least, which led me to believe the rest might be common as well. Because I knew so little about vampires going in, I really had no idea what was happening at some points or why certain events or discoveries boded what other readers may have known they did. I had fun discovering the answers along with the characters.

Dracula by Bram Stoker (audiobook cover)I liked the whole little band of good people voluntarily plunging into darkness and evil to eradicate the plague on humanity that is Count Dracula. My favorite character, though, was undeniably Abraham van Helsing — what a bad-ass! I loved his cryptic comments and mysterious ways. He’s the only one of the gang who doesn’t contribute much first-person recollection to the narrative, which makes him even more intriguing and inscrutable.

My one complaint — and it’s only a minor one — was the length. When everyone was hanging out in England, perhaps there could have been a little less sitting around, a few fewer vampire encounters before they got the ball rolling. I think I would have gotten bored in a couple of spots if I’d been reading the book. On audio, though, I got through it just fine.

Speaking of the audiobook, the narrator I listened to was Robert Whitfield, and he was excellent. His sense of drama was just right, taking the story seriously but not overly so. He varied each character’s voice just enough that you could tell who was talking. The only rough spot was his American accent, which came out about 75% Southern and 25% British — still much better than my own British accent! Overall, an excellent way to experience Stoker’s classic vampire story for the first time.

Was Dracula a touch cheesy in spots, a little overdramatic? Of course. But I thoroughly enjoyed it and found it perfect for some Halloween-ish October reading.

Those are my thoughts. Check out Dracula by Bram Stoker on Goodreads or LibraryThing, read a plethora of other bloggers’ reviews, or listen to an Audible sample!

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  • http://myreadingbooks.blogspot.com Kailana

    I really enjoyed this, too. I am glad I read it!

  • http://www.ragingbibliomania.net/ zibilee

    I read this many years ago for a class, and thought it was a great read. Very atmospheric and gothic, which I really enjoyed. It wasn’t scary in a traditional way, but it was good and creepy in its own right. I am glad to hear that you enjoyed it. It sounds like it made for a great listen!

  • http://www.justbookreading.com Amy

    I think this would make a great audio book. I reread it about a year ago but never thought about it as an audio book. Maybe the next time around.

  • http://herbookself.blogspot.com lisa :)

    Glad you enjoyed the book – it’s one of my favorites! And I’m happy to hear the audio was well done because I feel like it’s a book that could be pretty much ruined by a bad narration.

  • http://bookchatter.net Ti

    At some point in college I started to read Dracula and then for whatever reason never finished it. I don’t remember getting too far with it. However, lots of bloggers agree that it’s much better than they expected it to be. I think it would be wonderful on audio. That may be how I choose to read it, too.

  • http://www.coffeeandabookchick.com Natalie ~ the Coffee and a Book Chick

    I am so excited that you enjoyed this!! Ok, now your next read either right now, or in the next few weeks should be The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. Told in a similar epistolary format, but with flashbacks and events in current (1970s) time, it is really the only Dracula related novel I can recommend. The imagery is beautiful, the Gothic story hauntingly told, and some sections are so intense you cannot put it down. Granted there are a few slower spots here and there, but it’s approximately 600 pages, so there’s bound to be some slow sections. I’ve read it twice and am now occasionally listening to the 31-hour audiobook, which is wonderful!

    Enjoy!!

  • http://www.eclectic-eccentric.com Trisha

    I really like this story, so I’m thrilled to hear you enjoyed it too. As you said, it’s a bit cheesy and there are some draggy bits, but it’s still fantastic.

  • Jenny

    I remember getting this one and being super wary going into it but that lasted about two seconds. I loved this book. I’m glad you liked it too.

  • http://www.fizzythoughts.com softdrink

    I prefer my horror with a bit of cheese, too. 😉

  • http://www.readinasinglesitting.com Stephanie @ Read in a Single Sitting

    I read this one years ago now–I probably should do a re-read. I remember loving it, though.

  • http://www.thingsmeanalot.com/ Nymeth

    I’m very glad to hear you enjoyed this! Stoker did lay some of the ground rules for Vampires, and it’s amazing how big a part of popular culture his creation is over a century later. And like you I loved the epistolary format.

  • http://www.readingonarainyday.com/ Aths

    It’s been two years since I read this, so I don’t remember some details all that well, but I absolutely loved this book! Glad that you did too!

  • http://www.thebooknerdclub.blogspot.com Danielle

    I really love vampire tales so feel very sheepish to admit that I’ve never read this :-/ I do have a copy on my shelf though, so should get to it soon!

  • http://lostinagoodstory.blogspot.com Joanna

    I’m glad you liked it! I wasn’t expecting to like it either, but for the opposite reason. I thought it wouldn’t be as ‘sophisticated’ as modern vampire stories – boy was I wrong!

  • http://www.taiwaneastcoaster.blogspot.com/ Ryan

    I know it’s predictable to say such things, but Dracula is the best piece of horror fiction ever written. I’ve read it at least a dozen times and it never fails to creep me out and amazine me, simultaneously. Stoker was a master of walking the line of reveal (not enough vs. too much) which is where far too many writers of horror fail.

    There are points in this book where I marvel at his restraint. Stoker could have added a sentence to the end of such-and-such paragraph, given the reader a bit more detail and,as such, lost the flavor of the entire episode.

    The entire saga involving Lucy is epic. Absolutely epic. When Stoker compares Lucy’s voice to the sound of broken glass I consistently get chills.

    One of my favorite books.